How To Write A Synopsis

how to write a synopsis

Step 1) Start with a Hook: this should be a paragraph or two similar to the blurb on the back of a book. Mood and tone are important. Use special adjectives, but don't over do them.

Step 2) Introduction of Characters: Introduce the main characters of your book. Tell their MOTIVATION, CONFLICT and GOALS. Stay away from detailed descriptions unless this information is pertinent to your story.

Step 3) Construct the Body of your Synopsis: Using paragraphs, write the high points of your story in chronological order. Keep the paragraphs tight with only important details. Each scene should include: ACTIION, REACTION and a DECISION.  

Example: Sam takes Jeremy's lunch box at recess. This makes Sam run after him, fall down and skin his knee. Sam decides he will always take a paper bag lunch that he can throw away from now on.

Step 4) Use 3 or 4 paragraphs to write the CRISIS and RESOLUTION of the Story. Keep this simple but make sure you show your main character's reactions. Don't keep editors/agents guessing. The synopsis must include the resolution to your story.

Step 5) Rewrite, revise and polish until each sentence flows and conveys the power of your story. Strong adjectives and verbs will help. Stay in present tense. Third person -- even if the story is told in 1st person.

Step 6) Take out any extra words.

Step 7) Read through to check that the character arc is there.

And good luck! Did I forget anything? Do you have anything to add?

Extra Note: The lengths of synopses can vary. (This is the proper plural, comes from Latin.) They can be anything from one page to three or four pages or more.

Stick to what ever you are asked for.
And keep all the versions.
You may need them!

Sign up to follow -- the post will be about writing from now on. I promise. Enough ramblin', this girl's gettin' down to business:)
(Thanks to Vivian Beck for an article that inspired this.)